Chamber Awards 2019 Winners Q&A – Waterford Chamber

May 13, 2019

Following last month’s Chamber Awards, Leona Murphy from Chambers Ireland caught up with Waterford Chamber who won the Event of the Year category for their Toys4Engineers Conference & Expo

Could you tell us a bit about your winning event?

Waterford Chamber is dedicated to presenting events of the highest standard to our membership. We are always focused on delivering events that are relevant to all sectors and Toys4Engineers Conference & Expo is an example of that. Toys4Engineers Conference & Expo brought in excess of 3000 people to WIT Arena last year, on what was its second year, seeing it grow from a local event to being very much on the agenda nationally with exhibitors coming from as far away as Sligo and Dundalk.

The event is organised by Waterford Chamber, with the support of Waterford Institute of Technology and is designed to bring multinational and indigenous companies together to showcase their innovations, network and ultimately do business.

With over 80 companies exhibiting, you can expect to see everything from flying drones to robots around the floors at Toys4Engineers. It’s different, it’s interesting and it is identifying gaps in the market.

We receive the backing of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, SIMI, Engineers Ireland, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Cobotics Skillnet and Waterford Local Enterprise Office, as well as a number of financial sponsors.

Through the conference, which was opened last year by Julie Sinnamon, attendees were presented with key industry leaders speaking on topics that are relevant to business or showcases where the future of industry lies.

‘Industry 4.0’ is driving the Technology, Innovation, Recruitment and Upskilling agendas of companies in all sectors of the economy. Engineers need to develop and use new ‘toys’ to address the many competitive challenges.

What does winning this award mean to your Chamber?

Toys4Engineers is a key event on our calendar and to be recognised by our peers in receiving the Event of the Year Award is a huge honour. There is a small team behind organising the event, which takes months of planning, and this award is testament to their hard work, dedication and determination to enhance the offering year on year.

What inspired your Chamber to start running this event?

For years Waterford was recognised as an area of excellence for quality glassware. Since the demise of Waterford Crystal, Waterford is re-emerging and staking its claim on the technology world, now boasting over 100 tech companies within the region.

Toys4Engineers helps redefine Waterford’s area of excellence, as it is now emerging as a hub for innovation, technology and engineering. However, while some companies are making the headlines, there is virtually nothing known about the smaller indigenous companies. Toys4Engineers now offers those companies a platform to showcase their innovations and puts them in the line of sight of the larger organisations, who very often outsource their requirements not knowing it is available on their doorstep.

Toys4Engineers has been hugely successful in bringing these companies together resulting in significant contracts. Above all else, Toys4Engineers is an innovative way of encouraging collaboration.

What are the next steps/follow-ups to this event?

Following feedback from 2018, plans are underway to enhance the offering again this year. The event will consist of:

– 100+ Exhibition Stands

– Meet the Buyer

– CPD Masterclasses

– Student workshop

– 3000+ attendees

To keep up to date on all the latest developments, go to www.toys4engineers.ie

What exciting projects do you have planned for the rest of 2019 and into 2020?

The next twelve months will certainly be exciting ones for Waterford Chamber. We have a fun summer of networking planned through our Golf Classic with EY and our Race Night at the Tramore August Racing Festival.

September will bring the launch of our third Regional Leaders Programme, which is going from strength to strength each year and the year will conclude with Ambassador Dan Mulhall and Olympian John  Treacy speaking at our Annual Dinner and Karen Burns, Managing Director of SunLife Financial taking to the podium at our Inspiring Women in Business Lunch. The new year will bring the excitement of our six Waterford Business Awards and our Business Expo.

We also have a new Ambassador programme in development for the international promotion and support of Waterford, as well as a new programme for Entrepreneurs, which will complement the Regional Leaders Programme. There are busy times ahead and we relish the challenge of improving our offering to members year on year.

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